CYCLOPS: There’s no better time than now to talk about guns

The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.

have never had strong opinions on guns. Likewise, I have not been a fervent supporter of so-called gun control.

A major reason for my ambivalence is that I don’t know much about guns and didn’t grow up around them.  My father wasn’t a hunter, and my sole experience with weaponry was being forced to reassemble a gun in my required high school ROTC class.  With no guns in our home, I was no more intrigued in using one than I was learning the intricacies of a vacuum cleaner. 

I stayed away from the gun control debate for two reasons. One, the Constitution ambiguously gives the right to possess the guns, although courts have recognized government can set ownership limits.  But my major reason for being hesitant on gun control is that banning a certain group from having something – in this case, “bad people” – is not effective. People with ill intent will generally find a way to grab a gun as surely as a drunk will find means of slurping Jack Daniels.

Typically, I object to people making laws about things they know nothing about similar to non-drinkers making laws about alcohol, those with little knowledge about guns should not be in charge of gun control. 

But after the latest mass shooting at the Florida High School, we need to have an honest conversation – a national talk without the strident voices of either the anti-gun lobby or the National Rifle Association – about why gun violence is far more prevalent in the U.S. than in any other civilized nation.

I don’t want to take away your gun. But, like the vast majority of Americans who don’t own weapons (and even in gun-happy Texas where almost two-thirds of adults don’t own a gun or rifle), I need to know why assault weapons like the AR-15 are sold to the general public.

I’m not blaming the weapon for the Florida tragedy. A 19-year-old psychopath pulled the trigger.  But obviously 17 people, mostly children, would not have been killed if the same wacko had been armed with a small boulder instead of a gun that can shoot 40 bullets in a minute!

An evangelical pastor wrote the following after a similar shooting spree in a Texas church:

“I won’t pretend to know the mind of God, so all I can offer is a simple guess at what he would say. ‘Stop the killing’. Of course, killing will never end completely.  We are imperfect creatures of free will, prone to sin as well as beauty. But this is categorically different from allowing the proliferation of machines solely designed to kill large numbers of people quickly, machines that bear no more semblance to a rifle than a nuclear weapon does to a firework.  And the sin of omission – doing nothing – is nearly as bad as the murder itself.

Yes, we need to chat about our options, allowing gun enthusiasts to explain to the rest of us why the AR-15 and its cousins are not limited to public safety/military personnel.

News outlets are reporting that a man posted strong feelings following the 2017 shooting rampage in Las Vegas. He wrote online that he opposed any infringement on his constitutional right to own guns.  Who wrote that?  His name was Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old responsible for gunning down 17 teens and teachers in Florida.

We need to sit down and talk.  There is no better time than now.


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